Spiritual Leadership in Korea’s Financial Industry

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  • ABSTRACT

    This study was designed to validate Fry's (2003) model of spiritual leadership within the Confucian context of South Korea and establish a baseline for the model in Korea's financial sector. Spiritual leadership is an emerging, holistic model of leadership that encapsulates the relationships of leaders, followers, organizational culture, and organizational outcomes. However, while the theory has been extensively tested in individualistic cultural contexts, validation of the theory in collectivist cultures such as Korea has only recently been pursued.

    The study examined the emergence of spiritual leadership values and the relationship of these values on organizational commitment and productivity, as mediated by the spiritual survival variables of calling and membership through structural equation modeling. Survey data were collected from a South Korean financial services company with strong Confucian values. The results of this study supported the universality of Fry's (2003) spiritual leadership model in a Confucian context, despite high job uncertainties facing participants. Measures of reliability and validity were above adequate levels and fell within the range of previous studies. Also, goodness-of-fit measures such as NNFI and CFI were all highly significant (p < .001) and above the .95 level. Hence, a baseline for future research in Korea's financial sector was established.

    The study recommends the need to explore the positive and negative aspects of Confucianism as it relates to (a) the emergence of spiritual leadership and (b) group-level analysis of spiritual leadership. Notably, the results suggest that Confucian values can positively contribute to organizational outcomes through collective membership, but negatively through weak empowerment, based on the degree of reciprocal trust and loyalty between leaders and followers. Additionally, the lower mean scores of spiritual leadership values in this study as compared to previous studies suggest that among other possibilities, the potential weakening of leader-follower relationships during times of uncertainty and crisis can upend the strengths of spiritual leadership. Future longitudinal studies are needed to more deeply examine the relationship of job uncertainties on spiritual leadership.


    본 연구는 한국과 관련된 유교적 사상에 근거한 Fry (2003) 의 spiritual leadership**의 모델을 입증함과 동시에 한국의 금융 분야에서 직업의 불확실성에 직면한 고용인들과의 연관성 모델의 기반을 확립하기 위해 계획 되었다. Spiritual leadership은 leader, follower, 조직문화 및 직무성과의 관계를 요약한 새롭게 주목받는 전체론적 이론이다. 본 이론은 개인주의적인 문화와 연관된 서양에서 광범위하게 연구되어져 온 반면, 한국과 같은 집단주의적 문화 안에서의 타당성은 최근 들어 연구되어 왔다. 게다가, spiritual leadership 과 관련된 기반산업 연구, 특히 직업 불확실성과 구조체계의 변화에 직면한 산업에 관한 연구는 미미한 상태다. 본 연구는 spiritual leadership이라는 가치관의 출현과 더불어 구조 방정식 모델을 통해 소속감과 소명의식의 spiritual survival 변수에 의해 매개되어지는 조직몰입과 생산성과의 관계에 대해 살펴보았다. 통계자료는 한국의 강한 유교적 가치관을 지닌 한 금융회사에서 수집되었다. 본 연구의 결과는 참여자들이 높은 직업 불확실성에 직면있음에도 불구하고 Fry (2003)의 유교와 관련된 spiritual leadership 모델의 보편성을 잘 보여주었다. 신뢰도와 타당성지수는 적정수준 이상이었고 선행된 연구 결과의 범위 내에 있었다. 또한, NNFI와 CFI같은 부합지수는 1% 유의수준에서 모두 유의하였으며, 적정수준 (.95) 이상이었다. 따라서, 한국의 향후 금융분야의 조직연구의 기반이 될 것이다. 본 연구는 (a) spiritual leadership의 출현과 (b) spiritual leadership의 집단 차원의 분석과 관련된 유교의 긍정적인 면과 부정적인 면을 살펴봐야 할 필요성을 제안한다. 특히, 본 결과는 유교적 가치관이 공동 소속감을 통해 직무성과에 긍정적으로 기여되거나, leader와 follower들 간 상호 신뢰와 충성도에 따라 약한 권한부여를 통해 부정적으로 기여될 수 있음을 나타낸다. 더불어, 선행연구들과 비교하여 본연구의 spiritual leadership의 가치관의 낮은 평균 점수는 여러 다른 가능성들 중, 불확실성과 위기상황에서 leader와 follower의 잠재적인 관계 약화는 spiritual leadership의 강점을 뒤집을 수 있음을 제안한다. 또한, 향후 종단 연구을 통해 spiritual leadership에서 직무 불확실성의 관계를 보다 면밀히 살펴봐야 할 필요가 있다.

  • KEYWORD

    spiritual leadership , workplace spirituality , 유교 , 소명의식 , 소속감 , 조직몰입 , 생산성

  • Ⅰ. Introduction

    The Asian financial crisis of 1997, and more recently, the global financial crisis of 2008 have emerged as critical turning points for Korea (Park & Yu, 2002; Yu & Rowley, 2009). In particular, these crises have spurred the opening of Korea's financial markets and the loosening of labor laws, including an end to long-term employment, job security, and familial-based human resource policies(Kim, 2004; Park, 2004; Yu & Rowley, 2009). Additionally, advancements in technology are causing the rapid replacement of traditional, brick-and-mortar financial services with Internet or smartphone-enabled services. Hence, the competitive landscape facing workers within Korea's financial sector has become increasingly insecure and uncertain, as evidenced by continuous downsizing. For example, the brokerage sector, which accounts for roughly 80% of employment in Korea's financial investment sector, has experienced a steady decline in employment and number of branch offices since 2010 (Korea Financial Investment Association, 2013). In combination, these trends and practices are provoking a shift in the cultural identity of both the employed and those seeking employment away from Korea's traditional Confucian-centric culture and deep-seeded collectivism to greater horizontal individualism, causing organizational commitment and job satisfaction to falter (Han & Shin, 2000; Kim, 2004; Park & Kim, 2005; Yim, 2002). Indeed, the common attitudes underpinning the collective consciousness of Koreans, such as “conventional ways of doing business, expectations of life-time employment, trust in business culture . . . and above all, pride in being Korean” (Park, 2004, p. 154) have been upended, leaving many Koreans feeling demoralized and frustrated about the future.

    Lewin and Regine (2001) have suggested that “the business world is in the throes of revolutionary change” (p. 3); and, with this change, “business managers are finding many of their background assumptions and time-honored business models inadequate to help them understand what is going on” (p. 4). Notably, organizational change through downsizing and re-engineering has not achieved expected objectives, spurring the development of organizational cultures that encourage personal growth, creativity, and innovativeness (Ashmos & Duchon, 2000; Lewin & Regine, 2001). Likewise, the underlying self-interests of capitalism, worsened by ethical scandals like Enron, have shaken workers' trust in organizations, while at the same time, stimulated increasing interest by workers in achieving personal, spiritual well-being (Fry & Nisiewicz, 2013), including inspiring and meaningful work, and a more fulfilling balance between life and work (Aburdene, 2007; Dehler & Welsh, 2003; Mitroff & Denton, 1999).

    An emerging leadership theory that not only captures these desires for employee well-being but also facilitates the achievement of healthy organizational outcomes, such as commitment, productivity, and social responsibility, is Fry's (2003) theory of spiritual leadership. The theory is built around an intrinsic motivation model of hope/faith (effort), vision (performance), and altruistic love (rewards) that helps satisfy follower needs for spiritual survival through calling and membership, which in turn leads to improved organizational outcomes. Empirical testing of Fry's model has revealed significant positive support to the influence of spiritual leadership on organizational commitment, productivity, and employee life satisfaction (Fry & Nisiewicz, 2013) in western, individualistic cultural contexts. However, a gap in the leadership construct exists due to limited testing of the theory in collectivist cultures such as Korea. Recent studies in China (Chen & Yang, 2012; Chen, Yang, & Li, 2012) and Korea (Jeon et al., 2013; Kim Yu, Kim, & Lee, 2012) are narrowing this gap.

    The purpose of this study is to test not only the universality of spiritual leadership but also examine spiritual leadership within the Korean cultural context of the financial services sector. This will establish a baseline for future studies in Korea's financial sector, which is expected to face restructuring and job insecurities in the years ahead (Yonhap, 2013). The research should add to the existing body of spiritual leadership research by confirming the universality of Fry's (2003) model of leadership within a Confucian context, and also explore the commonalities and challenges of spiritual leadership emerging in a culture motivated by collectivism and Confucian values.

    Ⅱ. Theoretical Background and Hypotheses

       1. Spiritual Leadership

    Spiritual leadership is heavily influenced by workplace spirituality, underpinned by the societal values, assumptions, and behavior underlying the organization's culture (Dickson, BeShears, & Gupta, 2004). As theorized by Giacolone and Jurkiewicz (2003), workplace spirituality is “a framework of organizational values evidenced in the culture that promotes employees' experience of transcendence through the work process, facilitating their sense of being connected to others in a way that provides feelings of completeness and joy” (p. 13). During the past 20 years, social developments related to organizational restructuring, downsizing, globalization, and quality of life issues have adversely impacted employees, sparking increasing interest in workplace meaning and balance of work/life/family dimensions (Aburdene, 2007; Dent, Higgins, & Wharff, 2005). Indeed, the workplace has become a place where personal meaning and contribution are to be cultivated and enriched (Fairholm, 1996).

    Spiritual leadership theory as proposed by Fry (2003) is an emerging holistic leadership paradigm that integrates the central needs and motivations of leaders and followers with organizational culture dimensions. According to Fry, spiritual leadership is “the values, attitudes, and behaviors that are necessary to intrinsically motivate one's self and others so that they have a sense of spiritual survival through calling and membership” (Fry, 2003, p. 694). The theory is built on existing leadership approaches such as the path-goal theory of leadership (House, 1996), transformational leadership (Bass & Avolio, 1994), and principlecentered leadership (Covey, 1991). Extending these leadership theories, Fry's theory of spiritual leadership explicitly incorporates leader and follower needs, cultural dimensions, and organizational outcomes. To date, Fry's (2003) theory of spiritual leadership is the only extensively tested and validated model of spiritual leadership, commencing with Fry, Vitucci, and Cedillo's (2005) baseline study of an army squadron (see also Fry & Matherly, 2006). Various organizational outcomes of spiritual leadership have also been studied with highly reliable and valid results, such as job satisfaction (Bodia & Ali, 2012), productivity and organizational commitment (Chen, Yang, & Li, 2012; Fry, Vitucci, & Cedillo, 2005), and organizational citizenship behavior (Chen & Yang, 2012). Notably, Chen, Yang, and Li were the first to examine spiritual leadership in a collectivist culture (e.g., China and Taiwan), and the research results were not only highly supportive of the emergence of spiritual leadership attributes but also determined that self-esteem and self-efficacy mediate the relationship between spiritual leadership and organizational outcomes. Finally, a central emerging premise of spiritual leadership theory is how congruence of individual, organizational, and societal values in the model influences achievement of the triple bottom-line, namely, people, profit, and planet (Fry & Nisiewicz, 2013).

    As summarized by Fry and Nisiewicz (2013), “the purpose of spiritual leadership is to tap into the fundamental needs of both leader and follower for spiritual well-being through calling and membership, to create vision and value congruence across several levels—the individual, the empowered team, and the organization as a whole; and, ultimately, to foster higher levels of employee well-being, organizational commitment, financial performance, and social responsibility.” (p. 4). Given this definition, spiritual leadership is an intrinsically motivated and causal theory of leadership, wherein effort leads to performance, which leads to rewards (Fry, 2003). In other words, the intrinsic satisfaction of work itself is the reward of effort and performance. Within Fry's model, these intrinsic factors of effort, performance, and rewards are conceptualized as the spiritual leadership attributes of vision, hope/faith, and altruistic love. The outcome of these intrinsic motivational practices is the satisfaction of the spiritual well-being of both leaders and followers through calling and membership that, in turn, stimulates strong personal and organizational outcomes, such as organizational commitment and productivity (Fry & Nisiewicz). Notably, Fry theorizes that calling satisfies the spiritual well-being of individuals by helping participants make a difference and feel as if life has meaning and purpose. Membership satisfies spiritual well-being by helping individuals to feel understood and appreciated. Building on the robust validating results of Fry, Vitucci, and Cedillo (2005), Fry’s most recent research (Fry, Hannah, Noel, & Walumbwa, 2011) found strong empirical support for theoretical assertions raised in Fry (2003), including the key assumptions that (a) the meaning and purpose individuals find in group settings is closely hinged to leadership establishing a compelling vision, which in turn strongly influences commitment and productivity, and (b) leadership that exemplifies the values and attitudes characteristic of altruistic love helps group members personify these values and attitudes, which in turn fosters high levels of team-member social exchanges and positive performance outcomes. Indeed, this recent study of Fry and colleagues provide evidence that personal and organizational outcomes can be enhanced through leadership that emphasizes spiritual well-being in the workplace.

       2. Korea Cultural Context

    Korea's contemporary cultural identity is an eclectic blend of historical Korean ideologies and modern Japanese and Western philosophies and practices (Chung, Lee, & Jung, 1997; Yim, 2002). The heavy influence of Japanese and Western cultural practices during the past century has helped Korea achieve an economic miracle and shed its image as the “hermit kingdom.” But, its traditional culture, characterized by strong homogeneity, continues to run deep, underpinned by the philosophical perspectives of Confucianism and the nontraditional religious practices related to Shamanism (Yim, 2002; Yum, 1987). Indeed, the cultural influence of Shamanism and Confucianism permeates and exerts a tremendous influence on the livelihood of most Koreans from family and social relationships to political ideologies to capitalistic ambitions to the ethical and moral fabric of the nation (Kim, 2005; Yum, 1987).

    2.1 Shamanism

    Shamanism is Korea's oldest religion, emerging from predominantly animistic religious traditions prior to 400 A.D. and heavily influenced by other religions such as Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism in terms of various religious deities and moral teachings (Keel, 2003). It constitutes no formal organized community, hierarchy, or authorized canon; rather, it is best categorized as a “nonofficial” religion of fortune-tellers and divination (Kim, 2005; Park, 2003). Shamanism is the contemporary folk religion of the common people and “the fundamental religious worldview underlying the mental landscape of Koreans . . . exercising a profound influence on the development of Korean attitudes and behaviors as well as cultural practices” (Kim, 2000, p. 116). For example, most Koreans admit to visiting a fortuneteller at least once in their lifetime for advice on problems such as marriage, health, and business decisions, irrespective of official religious affiliation, profession, or educational background (Kim, 2003a). The central concerns of Shamanism are solving the practical and immediate problems of daily life in an effort to not only seek good fortune but also make sense of life during times of uncertainty (Kim, 2005), and are best illustrated in the way Koreans “generally work hard to realize their Shamanisminduced wish for material success” (Kim, 2000, p. 118).

    2.2 Confucianism

    Confucianism was founded in China during the 6th century B.C. as an ethical and educational system to reform the old Chinese patterns of life (Oh, 1991). Due to Korea's proximity to and strong political relations with China, the philosophical foundations of Confucianism were initiated shortly thereafter in Korea's history. Confucianism exerted a great practical influence on daily life, especially following its adoption as the official political ideology of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Indeed, Confucianism's influence on the cultural identity of Korea cannot be understated. According to Oh (1991), “it [Confucianism] forms the foundation of all ethics and morality in business as well as social and personal life, detailing the attitudes and behavior appropriate to every type of human relationship, from the top to the bottom of the social order, from the most intimate family relationships to the most distant associations.” (p. 48)

    Confucianism is influenced by a multitude of virtues, including the four virtues of Jen (humanity), Li (rules of conduct or mannerisms), Yi (righteousness or justice), and Chi (knowledge or wisdom), of which the cornerstone is considered to be Jen (Kim & Shute, 1993). Humanity drives the harmonization of human relationships through rituals that facilitate social order (Paik & Sohn, 1998; Yum, 1987). Social order and harmony are viewed as the primary objectives of Confucianism and are best accomplished through detailing an explicit code of moral conduct and self-cultivation to harmonize the unequal relationships found within society (Kim & Park, 2003; Paik & Sohn, 1998).

    Confucianism is governed by a rigid hierarchy of relationships that are usually unequal in nature due to rank or power and is designed to sustain a social order of collective harmony through distinct moral obligations (Oh, 1991). The heart of subordinate moral obligations is loyalty, which in principle is reciprocated from superiors through the obligations of paternalism and empathy (Paik & Sohn, 1998). Despite the appearance of superiorsubordinate relationships that may appear authoritarian or one-sided in nature, the reciprocal obligations and attitudes of superiors in fact facilitates social order and harmonious relations, as “Confucianism takes the attitude that one-sided obligations can never serve morality” (Yum, 1987, p. 75).

    Preservation of group harmony is a central theme of Confucianism, “stressing smooth, constructive, and conflict-free interpersonal relations at almost any cost” (Paik & Sohn, 1998, p. 28). Conformity and consensus between group members is expected and highly valued, creating a climate where appearance is often valued more than truth. Such a climate induces members to subordinate private commitments for the achievement of group expectations. But, in return, such practices create a culture that values collectivism, teamwork, and a mutually motivated work ethic (Kim & Park, 2003; Paik & Sohn, 1998).

    The harmonious incentives within Confucian thought are represented in Korean organizational culture and leadership through the concept of inhwa, defined as the social order of peace or harmony between individuals. In particular, inhwa stresses harmony between unequals, a reciprocal relationship stressing conflict-free interpersonal relationships and requiring that “subordinates be loyal to their superiors and that superiors be concerned with the well-being of subordinates” (Alston, 1989, p. 29). Inhwa relationships are generally not intimate in nature as they are intrinsically unequal; rather, intimate relationships are formed with individuals with some claim to equality such as educational background, rank, or prestige.

    Circumventing these relationship peculiarities is the cultural ethos of jeong that facilitates both the binding of unequal relationships and greater intimacy between equals. Jeong can be broadly defined as “a bond of affection or feelings of empathy to others” (Yang, 2006, p. 285). It refers to lingering feelings attached to persons, places, objects, or places (Choi & Choi, 2001), embodying “the emotional links among individuals that are bonded both socially and relationally” (p. 80). Confucian philosophy underpins the concept of jeong through a complex fusion of seven emotions: happiness, anger, worry, sadness, joy, hate, and fear (Yang, 2006). Koreans engage this complex array of emotions in forming natural and extended interpersonal relationships, and once formed, the psychological bonds of such relationships endure a lifetime, providing the emotional glue to facilitate the collective psychological bonding between group members (Kim, 2006).

    Blurring the complexity of unequal relationships within the hierarchy is the concept of woori, or we-ness, “a psychological state where individuals de-differentiate themselves to the collective . . .[and] used by collective members when referring to themselves in the collective context” (Yang, 2006, p. 286). It is within the concept of woori that in-group collectivism grows and matures, as the “I” self-identity of individual group members becomes subservient to the group's identity of “we-ness.” Within the collective, woori, in combination with jeong, is the incentive behind the reciprocity of obligations between seniors and subordinates, benefiting all members, as seniors provide advice and support to juniors without expecting anything in return (Yang, 2006).

       3. Hypotheses

    Social, educational, and organizational changes during the past twenty years in Korea have led to the upheaval of deeply entrenched human resource policies, provoked job insecurities, and loosened the grip of Confucianism on the minds and behaviors of working Koreans, which has been replaced by the pursuit of self-interests and individualistic ambitions, especially among the rising generation, including a focus on personal well-being and freer expression of spirituality (Kim, 2003b). Given these changes towards greater individualism, combined with the strong emergence of spiritual leadership in individualistic cultures (Fry & Nisiewicz, 2013), this study hypothesizes that spiritual leadership will robustly emerge in a Korea, despite the strong collectivism that continues to dominate the cultural attitudes of Korean workers (Michell, 2010; Sohn, 2013). Indeed, spiritual leadership is postulated to have universal applicability, irregardless of cultural underpinnings (Fry, 2003), and recent spiritual leadership research within the context of China and Taiwan found support for this universality assumption (Chen, Yang, & Li, 2012).

    3.1 Spiritual Leadership Attributes

    Fry (2003) defined altruistic love as “a sense of wholeness, harmony, and well-being produced through care, concern, and appreciation for both self and others” (p. 712) and proposed that altruistic love is mutually exchanged between the organization and participants in pursuit of the organization's vision and is instrumental in driving out fears such as worry, anger, jealousy, selfishness, failure, and guilt that prevent participants from feeling a sense of membership. In short, spiritual leadership depends on altruistic love to help participants feel understood and appreciated. Within Korean organizations, altruistic love is best operationalized as a sense of group harmony, underpinned by the attributes of jeong and woori. Notably, Korean leaders assume an unconditional responsibility to compassionately take care of workers that is reciprocated through loyalty and filiel piety to the organization and leaders, which is hypothesized to help participants feel a strong sense of membership (Chen, 2004; Shin, 1999).

    Within Fry's (2003) motivational model of spiritual leadership, the performance variable operationalized as vision plays a pivotal role. Fry (2005) wrote that “vision then forms the basis for the social construction of the organization's culture as a learning organization and the ethical system and values underlying it” (p. 74). In this respect, vision reflects high ideals, encourages hope/faith, and establishes a standard of excellence, feeding the underlying organizational culture and values of participants, as operationalized in altruistic love. Leaders must embody and model these values and practices and, by doing so, enable and empower teams and subordinates who, as a result, tenaciously pursue the vision, as supported by the other two variables of hope/faith and altruistic love (Fry, Nisiewicz, & Vitucci, 2007). In Korea, the forward-looking leadership trait is consistently admired as a critical attribute of leaders (Kouzes & Posner, 2007), while charismatic leadership is viewed as a key underpinning of successful organizations (Hemmert, 2012), including its impact on job satisfaction (Dorfman et al, 1997). Korean workers assume their leaders are able to formulate and pursue a vision that benefits all involved, as depicted in the reciprocal obligations of subordinate loyalty and leader empathy common to Confucianism (Shim & Steers, 2002; Yum, 1987).

    According to Fry's (2003) model, effort is operationalized as hope/faith and plays a crucial role in motivating one's performance. He proposed that “hope/faith in the organization's vision keeps followers looking forward to the future and provides the desire and positive expectation that fuels effort” (p. 714). Within a Korean leadership context, faith/hope is best operationalized as desire and ambition. Hope/faith is evidenced in Korea's strong in-group collectivism that motivates participants to subjugate individual ambitions and desires for the effectiveness of the group (Paik & Sohn, 1998; Yang, 2006), despite the gradual shift from vertical collectivism (e.g., blind loyalty to superiors) to horizontal individualism (e.g., in-group collectivism balanced with personal ambitions outside the group; Han & Shin, 2000).

    Based on Fry, Vitucci, and Cedillo’s (2005) model of spiritual leadership, this study proposes the following hypotheses for spiritual leadership attributes:

    3.2 Spiritual Well-Being Attributes

    According to Giacolone and Jurkeiweicz (2003), the science of workplace spirituality is effectively and universally hinged to two inherent work motivations: finding meaning at work and feeling membership in a group. Fry's (2003) model of spiritual leadership operationalizes these motivations as calling and membership. In Korea, these motivations are hypothesized to be largely met through cultural attributes that value diligence, perseverance, and the pursuit of excellence, along with the collective spirit directly related to the concepts of inhwa, jeong, and woori. These attributes can instill not only a sense of meaning and purpose in participants, but also help participants feel understood and appreciated as a part of the group, based on the history of the relationship, frequency of contact, and personality compatibilities (Choi & Choi, 2001). Based on Fry, Vitucci, and Cedillo’s (2005) model of spiritual leadership, this study proposes the following hypotheses for spiritual well-being attributes:

    3.3 Organizational Outcomes

    Spiritual leadership is postulated to impact the spiritual survival of followers through increasing one's sense of calling and membership which should lead to (a) increased organizational commitment, as participants are loyal to and attached to organizations that are founded on a culture of altruistic love; and (b) higher productivity, as participants “go the extra mile” in pursuit of organization's vision (Fry, 2003).

    An underlying premise of collectivism within Confucianism is that personal ambitions should be subordinated for the greater good of the collective, in the name of social harmony and loyalty (Kim & Park, 2003; Paik & Sohn, 1998). However, the Confucian hold on traditional human resource practices such as long-term employment and seniority-based pay and promotions in exchange for loyalty continues to gradually weaken (Kim, 2004; Park & Yu, 2002). These practices are being replaced by the “Koreanization” of Western management techniques within the context of changing traditional practices, leading to enhanced organizational performance and productivity (Bae & Lawler, 2000; Hemmert, 2012; Rowley & Bae, 2004), and job satisfaction (Kim, Suh, & Kim, 2007). In contrast, slowly changing Confucian values at the societal level, such as a weaker sense of organizational loyalty, are viewed as hindering organizational commitment as seen through the more active pursuit during the past decade of individual ambitions through shifting jobs in the search for calling, membership, and personal well-being (Chung et al., 1997; Michell, 2010; Shim & Steers, 2002). Notably, the 1997 Asian financial crisis awakened subordinates' beliefs that hard work and unchallenged loyalty would no longer provide long-term employment or elicit empathy from superiors (Kim & Park, 2003; Morden & Bowles, 1998; Tipton, 2007). As a side effect, the financial crisis spurred the rapid development and government support of small and medium enterprises, creating a bedrock for entrepreneurs and workers to pursue meaningful ambitions outside the grip of authoritarian organizations (Choi, Elkinawy, & Wang, 2009; Hemmert, 2012), as well as generating new interest in social responsibility and the learning organization (Kim & Lee, 2006; Rowley & Bae, 2004; Tipton, 2007). In summary, the outcome variables of spiritual leadership in Korea are being impacted by a gradual decline in Confucianism and an increase in Westernization, yielding mixed results. This paper hypothesizes that these mixed developments are hindering organizational commitment.

    Ⅲ. Method

       1. Sample and Data Collection

    The sample for this study was selected through purposive sampling in the financial service industry, given that the sample was known to share values supportive of both collectivism and the spiritual leadership construct. For example, core values guiding the company include sincerity, consideration, enthusiasm, trust, and excellence, which are closely aligned with spiritual leadership attributes of trust/loyalty, kindness, compassion, excellence, and high ideals (Fry, 2003). Moreover, the sample provided a setting of dispersed geographic displacement between headquarters and branch offices, which resembled prior spiritual leadership studies (Fry & Matherly, 2006). The financial sector was chosen for testing, as a means of generalizing and expanding the reach of spiritual leadership to additional industries, which to date has primarily been focused on the military (Fry, Vitucci, & Cedillo, 2005) and manufacturing and distribution sectors (Chen, Yang, & Li, 2012; Fry & Matherly, 2006; Fry & Nisiewicz, 2013). The finance sector accounts for approximately 3.5 percent of total employment in Korea (Statistics Korea, 2014), of which the financial investment segment comprises roughly 6 percent. Notably, due to overexpansion during the past ten years and the recent spread of internet and smartphone technologies within the sector (Park & Yang, 2008), total employment in this sub-segment has steadily declined by 4% from a 2010 peak (Korean Financial Investment Association, 2013).

    Voluntary survey research was conducted with approximately 800 workers. A total of 369 individuals (214 males, 148 females, 7 did not report gender) completed surveys, yielding a participation rate of 46%. Most participants were 30 to 39 years old (45%) and had 1 to 3 years of work experience (35%). Additionally, 21% of participants held management positions and 77% of participants were university graduates. Notably, 43% of the sample claimed no religious affiliation.

       2. Instrumentation

    2.1 Spiritual Leadership and Spiritual Wellbeing Variables

    Instrumentation for this study was based on survey items included in the spiritual leadership survey (Fry, 2008). The spiritual leadership survey includes five scales and is based on a response set ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). The five scales have exhibited coefficient alpha reliabilities between .70 and .95.

    2.2 Outcome Variables

    Organizational commitment was analyzed through five items based on the measure of affective organizational commitment developed by Allen and Meyer (1990), and productivity was measured through four items of the group productivity measure developed by Nyhan (2000). Outcome variables have been validated within a spiritual leadership context through prior research by Fry and associates (Fry, 2008; Fry, Vitucci, & Cedillo, 2005) with adequate coefficient alpha reliabilities between .85 and .91.

    Fry's (2008) spiritual leadership survey was translated into Korean by professionals familiar with the leadership field. Following the translation, the survey instrument was back-translated into English to evaluate the accuracy and improve the reliability of the translation. Different professionals were used for the translation and back-translation steps.

    Ⅳ. Results

       1. Reliability and Validity

    This study used AMOS 18 SPSS (Arbuckle, 2009) with maximum likelihood estimation to analyze the research model. All variables were correlated with each other between .35 and .82 at the level of p < .001, as shown in Table 1. Cronbach's alpha was used to check the internal consistency of measurement items. Reliabilities ranged between .73 and .88, and were within the acceptable range of previous studies, which were between .70 and .95. Next, according to confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), several scale items were removed due to low factor loadings, including one item each from calling (.46; “The work I do makes a difference in people's lives”), membership (.52; “I feel highly regarded by my leaders”), and productivity (.55; “My work group is very efficient in getting maximum output from resources we have available”). In addition, as proposed by Fornell and Larcker (1981), average variance extracted (AVE) was calculated to test the convergent validity of the results. All AVE scores were above .5, except productivity (.47), suggesting good convergent validity of the results. Considering the reliability of productivity, close proximity of its AVE to .5 and that excluding the factor caused the overall model fit to decrease, the factor was not removed from the model. Finally, CFA found a high covariance with one of the vision items (i.e., “I understand and am committed to my organization's vision”), which was removed to improve the overall model fit.

    [

    ] Reliability and Validity Analysis of Variables (N = 369)

    label

    AMOS 18 was once again used to analyze the structural model. The observed covariance matrix fit of the model was tested through chi square tests, goodness of fit tests, and standard root-mean square error of approximation (RMSEA). Previous validation studies of Fry's spiritual leadership model have been based on the same methodology (see Fry, Nisiewicz, & Vitucci, 2007; Fry, Vitucci, & Cedillo, 2005). Firstly, since Fry's model of spiritual leadership is a non-recursive model, a multiple regression analysis was performed on altruistic love with hope/faith and vision as predictors to gain model identification (Bollen, 1989). The resulting beta weight was .66, which was used to gain model identification. Secondly, the overall chi-square for the study was 474.46 with 277 degrees of freedom (p < .001). Goodness of fit was measured by non-normed fit index (NNFI), incremental fit index (IFI), comparative fit index (CFI), and RMSEA (Bentler & Bonett, 1980; Browne & Cudeck, 1993; Tucker & Lewis, 1973). The study's results all exhibited adequate fit measures (NNFI of .96, IFI of .97, CFI of .97, and RMSEA of .04). All results were highly significant (p < .001). The reported high levels of the goodness of fit indices lend strong support to the overall fit and validity of Fry's (2003) spiritual leadership model to the data in this study.

    This study obtained data for both the independent and dependent variables from a single source, which creates the potential for common method variance (CMV). To minimize the possible effects of CMV, survey participants were protected through anonymity and the order of survey items of the various spiritual leadership attributes were mixed, which helped reduce evaluation apprehension of participants and control for priming effects and biases related to the question context (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Podsakoff, & Lee, 2003). Additionally, like the baseline study of spiritual leadership (Fry, Vittucio, & Cedillo, 2005), the data of this study was analyzed through structural equation modeling within AMOS that creates modification indices within the software to examine potential intercorrelations of error terms. Such analysis found that potential parameter changes due to error correlations with latent variables to be less than .10. Hence, common method variance is assumed to be minimal for these measures.

       2. Hypotheses Testing

    The results of this study showed positive, significant relationships between all spiritual leadership values, spiritual well-being attributes, and outcome variables, as shown in Figure 2, which supports hypothesized relationships. However, the strength of the path coefficient between hope/faith and vision (Beta = .27, p < .001) was lower than anticipated. Additionally, the strength of the path coefficient between calling and productivity (Beta = .34, p < .001) was lower than expected while the relationship between membership and organizational commitment (Beta = .77, p < .001) was higher than hypothesized. Hence, H3, H6, and H9 were only partially supported.

    Ⅴ. Discussion

       1. Implications for Spiritual Leadership Theory

    The results of this study lend support to the universality of Fry's (2003) model of spiritual leadership. First, goodness of fit measures (i.e., NNFI, CFI, and IFI) were all above .95, meeting the yardstick of acceptability (Arbuckle, 2009). Secondly, reliability of this study's results was high, and results were comparable to that of previous studies (e.g., Fry, Nisiewicz, & Vitucci, 2007; Fry, Vetucci, & Cedillo, 2005). Finally, like Fry, Vetucci, and Cedillo's research, this study also found the relationship between calling and organizational commitment to be weak. The Fry, Vetucci, and Cedillo study noted “of particular interest is the finding that the calling and organization commitment relationship was negligible and that membership accounted for over twice as much variance for unit productivity as did meaning/calling” (p. 858). Similarly, this study found the contribution of membership to organizational commitment, as shown through path coefficients, was almost four times that of calling (.77 versus .20). Previous studies (e.g., Fry, Vetucci, & Cedillo) have highlighted the importance of altruistic love, as mediated through fulfilling the membership needs of participants, in facilitating strong organizational commitment. However, in addition, this study suggests the need to investigate why Fry's spiritual leadership model does not better capture the impact of vision on organizational commitment through meeting followers' calling needs. For example, the lower mean values for vision and altruistic love of this study, as compared to previously validated studies, as shown in Table 2, coupled with the low explained variance of the calling to organizational commitment path highlight these assertions.

    [

    ] Comparative Mean Values

    label

    Given the universality of Fry's (2003) model, the results of this study suggest that Confucian virtues can contribute both positively (i.e., strong collective membership) and negatively (i.e., weak empowered calling) to organizational commitment, based on the perceived reciprocal trust and loyalty between leaders and follows (Kim & Shute, 1993). Notably, the autocratic, dark side of Confucianism can result in blind loyalty based on collective duty and fear of reprisal from peers and superiors (Oh, 1991). Indeed, based on (a) several of Kelley's (1992) followership styles, which suggest organizational outcomes are a function of the effectiveness of the leader-follower exchange, and (b) inner leadership (Fairholm, 2001), which suggests effective organizational outcomes will be increased through a considerate social exchange between leaders and followers, the relationship of Confucianism should be examined to better understand the role of leader-follower exchange in meeting the spiritual well-being of followers and generating higher organizational outcomes.

    Finally, this study examined the emergence of spiritual leadership with a sample facing highly uncertain conditions related to future job security, in light of steady downsizing. The resulting mean scores of this study were lower than previous studies, which suggests, among other possibilities, a potential weakening of spiritual leadership relationships during times of uncertainty and crisis. Future studies, especially longitudinal, should examine more deeply the relationship between uncertainty and the emergence of spiritual leadership, in light of the rising uncertainties facing leaders and followers through increasing complexity and the push for constant innovation (Collins, 2010; Kellerman, 2012).

       2. Implications for Korean Leadership

    Spiritual leadership is a newly emerging concept in Korea. This study has shown that the implicit cultural virtues and behavioral characteristics common to Confucianism and Shamanism (i.e., mutual respect, group harmony, reciprocal obligations, compassion, ambition, and loyalty) support the emergence of spiritual leadership in Korea and can facilitate the achievement of follower needs related to calling and membership. Moreover, this study has shown that spiritual leadership does emerge within a Korean context with similar levels of squared multiple correlations as previously validated spiritual leadership studies, albeit some regression weights between variables were lower than hypothesized. However, as depicted in Table 2, this study has also shown that the emergence of spiritual leadership, as reflected through mean scores of spiritual leadership factors is lower in Korea in comparison to previously validated Western studies (e.g., Fry, Vetucci, & Cedillo, 2005).

    A possible source of these differences can be found in the underlying cultural practices related to Confucianism and how these cultural practices are reflected through leader-follower relationships and group interactions. Importantly, slowly emerging cultural changes in Korea related to the blind acceptance of Confucian-based leadership practices are hindering the strong emergence of spiritual leadership within an organization. A key proposition of spiritual leadership theory is the importance of leaders setting the cultural tone of the organization through altruistic love, which effectively means gaining the mutually reciprocal trust of followers in the organization. If so, this motivation leads to hope/faith in the organization's vision, and achievement of vision leads to increased altruistic love, which in turn feeds the hope/faith variable and so on (Fry, 2003). However, within a Confuciandriven culture where authoritarian and paternalistic leadership styles are common (Baik, 1999), this reciprocal trust between leaders and followers can more often than not be exhibited through duty and loyalty rather than personalized belief in the leaders (Kim, Sohn, & Wall, 1999; Oh, 1991), similar to the leader-follower relationship challenges that Western leadership theory would expect in authoritarian or autocratic leadership settings (Northouse, 2007). Indeed, like the Fry, Nisiewicz, and Vitucci (2007) study which examined spiritual leadership within a police department setting, the emergence of altruistic love is stymied within an organizational culture characterized by hierarchical, command-and-control styles of leadership, typical of the dark side of Confucianism. Hence, the results of this study suggest that followers are productive and committed to the organization possibly out of duty more than because of an intrinsic belief in the leaders or the organization's vision. In other words, it suggests the need to examine in greater detail how the conflicting aspects of Confucianism, especially the dark side, can impact the emergence of spiritual leadership.

    A second issue that emerged in this study is the low mean score for altruistic love, as shown in the dispersion of mean values in Table 3. In contrast to the strong emergence of calling, which showed an “agree” response of 65%, altruistic love revealed a “disagree” response rate of 45%. The high “agree” dispersion percentage for calling suggests that the organization is creating a forward-looking organizational culture that allows participants to feel a strong sense of purpose and meaning in their work experience. However, the high “disagree” dispersion for altruistic love suggests a disconnect between leadership and the organizational culture. Notably, survey questions related to altruistic love examine whether leaders are “walking the talk,” exhibiting the courage to stand up for their people, and/or showing kindness and consideration to workers, but the high “disagree” dispersion and low mean score of 2.94 for altruistic love suggest that participants did not feel that the organization is creating such an organizational culture or providing such leadership. Indeed, the weak results highlight the importance of leaders establishing an organizational culture that exemplifies leader credibility, which has repeatedly been highlighted as a key leadership trait expected by followers in Korea (Kouzes & Posner, 2007).

    [

    ] Percentage Dispersion of Mean Values (N = 369)

    label

    Establishing an organizational culture that is both visionary and credible is a central premise of spiritual leadership (Fry, 2003). Creating and sustaining such a culture is no easy task, as shown in the divergent means scores of calling and altruistic love in this study. Notably, the sample of this study has explicitly defined a set of core values (i.e., sincerity, consideration, enthusiasm, trust, and excellence) that are supportive of such a culture, and regularly trains its employees in these values. However, as this study has shown, employees need more than public statements and training exercises; rather employees demand that leaders establish credibility through “walking the talk” (Kouzes & Posner, 2007). Moreover, the nature of Korean leadership itself must share some of the blame. Korean leadership is divergent in nature, characterized on one extreme by authoritarian, directive, and paternalistic behaviors that are offset by supportive and participative characteristics at the other extreme (Chen, 2004; Chung, Lee, & Jung, 1997; Dorfman, Howell, Hibino, Lee, Tate, & Bautista, 1997). The fault lies in Korean leadership’s slow response to changing worker needs, such as seeking greater meaning in work and demanding higher leader credibility, during the past 20 years of Korea’s economic miracle. In sum, this suggests the need to examine in greater detail the relationship of spiritual leadership to the role of Korean leadership in creating an organizational culture of credibility during times of cultural change, such as Korea is currently facing. This should be approached from both established organizations that have deeply engrained organizational cultures and newly emerging organizations that have the freedom to newly create organizational culture.

       3. Implications for Future Research

    Current research on spiritual leadership theory (see Fry, 2008; Fry, Hannah, et al., 2011) has cited that future research should focus on (a) better establishing that spiritual leadership theory is inclusive of other widely accepted leadership theories, (b) testing longitudinally for changes in key variables over time, (c) incorporating more objective performance measures from multiple sources, and (d) the distinction between religion and spirituality. In addition, within the context of Confucianism and Korea, this study suggests that future research not only investigate spiritual leadership in other financial and manufacturing industries to increase the generalizability of spiritual leadership, but importantly, studies should also examine the positive and negative roles that Confucianism can play in the emergence of spiritual leadership and the spiritual survival attributes of calling and membership. Importantly, research should examine how to effectively incorporate the underlying social virtues of Confucianism into the “Koreanizing” of spiritual leadership, which should facilitate the development of a Koreanbiased spiritual leadership survey instrument and more effective interpretation and generalizability of the concept of spirituality into the Korean language.

    Finally, research should analyze spiritual leadership at the group level of analysis, which necessitates looking at highly interdependent, homogeneous groups (Fry, Hannah, et al., 2011). The fundamental underlying virtues of Confucianism suggest that a group level analysis of spiritual leadership in a Korean context should yield a large positive relationship, as the cornerstone virtue of Confucianism, characterized as humanity (i.e., altruistic love), is centered on loyalty from those beneath a leader and consideration of those above the leader, and reciprocity that recognizes the differences but also the necessity of interdependence between leaders and followers (Kim & Shute, 1993). Hence, this study suggests that challenges seen in the path between vision and calling in Korea should be examined at the group level of analysis and, if possible, as part of a longitudinal, organizational development study to examine how Korean spiritual leadership can be harnessed through acknowledging the power of Confucian virtues in the development of more interdependent, cohesive groups.

       4. Limitations

    This study showed promising results by validating the emergence of spiritual leadership within a Confucian organizational context. However, there are several factors that may limit the validity of the study. First, the single sample of this study was purposive, given its reputation as an organization with underlying values conducive of Confucianism and spiritual leadership, which may limit the generalization of the results to the broader population of Korea, along with generalization to non-Confucian cultures. The mean scores of spiritual leadership values in this study suggest that the sample may be atypical of an organizational culture embracing spiritual leadership attributes. Fry (2003) admits that the effectiveness of spiritual leadership is hinged to an organizational culture that embraces the attributes of altruistic love, and future research within a Korean context should examine a multi-sample, random research design to more effectively examine this generalizability limitation. Second, despite construct validity of spiritual leadership attributes, the translation of the survey instrument poses a limitation to future studies, due to the lack of research consensus related to the interpretation of the concept of spirituality in Korea (Yu, Seo, & Kim, 2010).

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    • [<Figure 1>] Spiritual leadership model
      Spiritual leadership model
    • [<Table 1>] Reliability and Validity Analysis of Variables (N = 369)
      Reliability and Validity Analysis of Variables (N = 369)
    • [<Figure 2>] Simplified AMOS results of spiritual leadership model for Korea sample
      Simplified AMOS results of spiritual leadership model for Korea sample
    • [<Table 2>] Comparative Mean Values
      Comparative Mean Values
    • [<Table 3>] Percentage Dispersion of Mean Values (N = 369)
      Percentage Dispersion of Mean Values (N = 369)